The chances of you experiencing a crime might be relatively low, but there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk of it taking place.
From securing your home to guarding your personal data online, there are plenty of things you can do to help keep yourself and your property safe.
If you don’t feel safe and would like to talk to someone about how you feel, you can talk to us.
To maximise your chances of staying safe, we recommend you:
- make all travel plans in advance and let people close to you know where you’re going;
- remain within busy, well-lit areas and keep close to your friends if you feel unsafe at any stage;
- only book taxis from reputable firms, and do so in advance – never accept lifts from strangers;
- carry a personal safety alarm, in case you find yourself in a situation where it might be useful;
- don’t listen to music when walking alone and stay aware of your surroundings;
- put all valuables in different places such as alternate pockets or different areas of your bag; and
- contact the British Transport Police if you ever feel unsafe on public transport.
Staying safe online
Most of us rely on the internet in some way. This means it’s more important than ever to keep in mind some basic safety tips when you’re browsing or using social media to avoid falling victim to cybercrime.
Stay safe online by making sure you:
- turn on firewalls and always update your antivirus protection;
- don’t open unusual or strange emails – delete them straightaway;
- change your passwords regularly and use passwords that are very hard to guess (a combination of letters, numbers and special characters is best advised);
- only shop online on trusted websites and research thoroughly when booking holidays or buying event tickets to ensure the website is legitimate;
- look for the padlock symbol on the web address bar before shopping or banking online;
- turn on child safety features to help protect your children from accessing unsafe websites;
- keep an eye on your children if they use online chat platforms such as WhatsApp or social media. Perhaps see if there are any cyber safety classes they can attend at school.
Worried about online fraud?
We’re all vulnerable to online fraud, but if you’re particularly concerned that you might be targeted, you can apply for Cifas, which provides another layer of security when you purchase goods online or in store.
We also recommend contacting credit reference agencies to tell them about any concerns you might have about fraud. They’ll be able to review your credit report and provide assistance in identifying troublesome entries.
Credit reference agencies are also useful when it comes to password protecting your credit file. This will prevent anyone from reviewing your credit report until they request access and adds another layer of protection against online fraud.
The UK has three main credit reference agencies. They share the same information, but their use of it sometimes differs, which can result in you obtaining a different report or credit score. Try contacting all three to ensure your credit rating hasn’t been impacted by fraudulent activity.
The three credit agencies to contact are:
Keeping your home safe
Feeling unsafe in your home can have a negative impact on your life, but there are some relatively simple things you can do to protect your house or flat without calling on assistance:
- prevent opportunistic thieves from getting in by locking every window and door;
- keep all valuables such as car keys, jewellery and laptops out of sight;
- leave the curtains open and a radio on when you go out or on holiday and set timers for the lights to come on;
- consider installing security lights, alarms and CCTV; and
- don’t hide things like your keys in obvious places and ensure ladders and other garden tools are out of sight.
More information about crime prevention can be found on the Office of The Police and Crime Commissioner’s website here.